Sea­sonal sounds

Choral so­ci­ety cel­e­brated snow with con­certs this week­end

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Alo­cal group of vo­cal­ists is set to play a con­cert this week­end cel­e­brat­ing the in­cip­i­ence of win­ter, the hol­i­day sea­son and the plen­ti­ful gift, or pun­ish­ment to some, al­ready pre­sented to the Key­stone State by Mother Na­ture this sea­son: snow. The Schuylkill Choral So­ci­ety will present “The Snow of Penn­syl­va­nia” at 7 p.m. Satur­day at Jerusalem Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church, 252 Dock St., Schuylkill Haven; and 3 p.m. Sun­day at St. John the Bap­tist Ro­man Catholic Church, 10th and Ma­han­tongo streets, Pottsville. Tick­ets are $18 for adults and $12 for se­niors and stu­dents and can be bought at the door or from any so­ci­ety mem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Linda Kriner, choral so­ci­ety pub­lic­ity chair­per­son. The show, aside from in­clud­ing the tra­di­tional hol­i­day clas­sics, will be­gin with a lesser-known work by Cana­dian com­poser Sarah Quar­tel ti­tled “Snow An­gel.” “It’s a newer, con­tem­po­rary-type piece and it’s just a new way of telling the Christ­mas story. It’s very dif­fer­ent and I lis­tened to it and it was kind of a mix of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ with some gospel, with some con­tem­po­rary and one sec­tion it’s al­most like a rap,” Mu­sic Di­rec­tor Mark P. Thomas said ex­cit­edly about the five-move­ment com­po­si­tion. “It was re­ally a neat com­bi­na­tion of things that I thought was very unique but I didn’t think would alien­ate our au­di­ence. I thought ‘they’re go­ing to sit there and be awed by the sound.’ It’s writ­ten re­ally well, the har­monies are beau­ti­ful and it’s unique, which is what I was look­ing for” in or­der to arouse the spirit of the sea­son, he said. Dr. John Chawluk on cello, Dave Derves on per­cus­sion — “two great lo­cal mu­si­cians,” ac­cord­ing to Thomas — will ac­com­pany through­out “Snow An­gel,” Kriner said. Kim­berly Breiner Stoudt on pi­ano will be ac­com­pa­nist through­out the show. True to its name, the group will also fea­ture works by two Schuylkill County na­tives, works that were res­ur­rected after years past. One of those works, orig­i­nally per­formed by Frank Jor­dan of the Jor­dan Broth­ers fame, harkens back to his county roots. It’s ti­tled “Love On Our Side (Coal Cracker’s Christ­mas)” and has been spe­cially ar­ranged for the cho­rus by Thomas and adapted for pi­ano ac­com­pa­ni­ment by Breiner Stoudt, both with the su­per­vi­sion of Jor­dan. “It came out re­ally, re­ally neat. I think it’s go­ing to be re­ally spe­cial when the peo­ple hear it. That was part of that too: to use Frank and his legacy in our county and him be­ing part of the Jor­dan Broth­ers. I think it’s go­ing to be one of the high­lights of the con­cert,” Thomas said. The other song, “Snowflakes,” was writ­ten by New Ring­gold na­tive Cathy Miller while in col­lege and was cho­sen through more or less hap­pen­stance. Ac­cord­ing to Thomas, back then he was asked to give some point­ers on the piece, and while plan­ning for the event in June, crossed her path and asked her if he could use it. After dig­ging up the com­po­si­tion, Miller gave the song a few re­vi­sions for use at the con­cert. “I thought ‘this has great lo­cal fla­vor.’ This is part of what I wanted to do: have some of the lo­cal artists and things rep­re­sented in this

mu­sic,” Thomas said. After those songs are played, the first half con­cludes and makes way for a se­cond half full of hol­i­day sea­son fa­vorites, such as “Frosty the Snow­man,” “White Christ­mas,” Let it Snow,” “Baby it’s Cold Out­side” and more, ac­cord­ing to Kriner, with Thomas adding that he ex­pects peo­ple to be singing along. With the unique por­tion of mu­sic be­ing played at the con­cert, Kriner ad­vised any mu­sic lover to go out and take in the tunes and sup­port lo­cally made mu­sic. “I would sug­gest that any­one who likes what we do (should) not miss this one be­cause the first half is re­ally dif­fer­ent but it’s ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful, and very mean­ing­ful too,” she said. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.sch­choral.org or call 570-628-3388.

JACQUE­LINE DORMER / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Schuylkill Choral So­ci­ety mem­bers, from left, Ed­ward Scheetz, Jeff Miller, Frank Jor­dan and Donna Merkey re­hearse for their Christ­mas con­cert, sched­uled for 7 p.m. Satur­day at Jerusalem Evan­gel­i­cal Lutheran Church, Schuylkill Haven, and at 3 p.m. Sun­day at St. John the Bap­tist Ro­man Catholic Church, Pottsville.

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